After fetching critical acclaim and hitting hard at the box office, the long-awaited anime adaptation of Fate/Stay Night's Heaven's Feel route is ready to make its grand entrance in English Edition Weiss Schwarz! The third and final route of the original visual novel is centred on Sakura Matou's backstory and her actions as a master. The set features a larger number of green cards (Sakura's color) than usual to emphasize her role, but every major character gets their fair share of playables, so let's dig in!
Winning decklists from tournaments in East Asia (mostly Japan, but also Singapore, Thailand, and South Korea) are an important resource for western players, especially since English Edition sets are usually released a few months later than their Japanese language counterparts. This means it's already possible to get ahead of the competition by looking at the strategies and interactions that have been found to be effective by competent players of other regions.
With that in mind, Monstrous Glance, Rider is certainly one of the cards that has players most excited. This powerful healer has a climax combo that references the true identity of Rider as the legendary Medusa, the gorgon from Greek mythology said to be able to petrify those who look at her directly in the eyes. In the game, she does this by forcing the opponent to side attack and often deal no damage at all. While not a "finisher" in the classical sense, the stalling plan that this level 3 enables is extremely effective at dragging out games and eventually winning them by recurring the combo over consecutive turns.
Its supporting cast is also worth mentioning. Irreplaceable Existence, Sakura is a very straightforward advantage engine that sustains the deck's consistency, while "presage flower" Sakura helps mitigate the downside of playing eight gold bars as climax triggers.
Others colors are definitely less pushed, but still have some sweet new tools. Illya fans out there will be delighted with Mysterious Girl, Illyasviel since Fate/ was lacking a good blue healer; while the absence of a standby trigger is a major disappointment for many players, Dreamt of Moment, Rin is not that bad of a replacement, especially considering that it's probably the best level 1 combo featuring Rin Tohsaka; yellow is arguably the color that benefits least from this new release, but Justice On Behalf of Another, Shirou remains a perfectly serviceable advance summon and can even be tutored for through the dedicated event Suppressed Power of Heroic Spirits.
An honorable mention for flavor reasons is Black Shadow, which can deploy Overwhelming Strength, Saber Alter one level early after devouring a reversed Reaching for the Grail, Saber. Not too shabby and very well designed!
Fate/Stay Night: Heaven's Feel officially releases on 13 December 2019, so be sure to check out all the cards right here.